Sunday, April 8, 2007

Hand of Providence

Hand of Providence
Mary Beth Brown

Mary Beth Brown writes the fabulous story of the Faith of President Ronald Reagan in her work Hand of Providence. This story was interesting to me as I grew up in a strong Democratic area in Western PA where the only good thing one heard about Reagan was, well nothing.

I was quite a young man in the 1980's, and the personal life of a President wasn't something that was readily available then, there weren't all these media outlets that we have today. No Internet, no Amazon, and few book stores. Religiously speaking, the only thing I learned about Reagan back in those days was that each word of his name consisted of six letters so that you'd have Ronald Wilson Reagan = 666!

What a shame that there were people who propagated these type of characterizations to young and impressionable kids. But I never really bought into that silliness, though I'm sure many people did. Never the less, I knew very little about the personal life of my President in those days, since then I have learned a great deal through my reading of his biographies.

The faith of President Reagan, as chronicled in Brown's book, was immense and she has a wealth of documented words and letters from him to establish her thesis.

One such instance that reflected his faith was in a conversation with his minister who asked him if he knew Jesus Christ, and Reagan responded that he knows the man. There was an emphasis on the personal relationship he came to believe he had with Christ. In fact Mr. Reagan believed that he was saved numerous times by God, and was guided by angels in time of personal distress and grave health issues.

Brown also writes about the huge influence that Nelle Reagan had on her son, and how she was a loving and caring human being who allowed God a central role in her life. These beliefs and characteristics shaped her son who came to believe that God also had a plan for him, that He continued to save and guide him for a particular reason that was mostly unknown. In the mean time, the President instilled in his own children the same love of God and man that he was taught by his mother.

There were many times in Reagan's life that he thought he was saved for a reason. One major event being his miraculous recovery from the assassination attempt in 1981. After this occurred he writes of dedicating the rest of his life to God's plan, whatever that may be. This then led to a relationship with Pope John Paul II, who also made a miraculous recovery from an assassin's bullet. Together they secretly aided the Polish Solidarity movement and worked to weaken communism throughout the Soviet bloc.

This book, while not being very long at 208 pages, is chalk full of personal notes, letters, and anecdotes from family and friends testifying the faith of the fortieth President of the United States.

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